Remember: A humanocentric history is our focus.
Paleolithic Age = Old Stone Age = 2 million years - 10,000 years ago Paleo = Old, Lithic = Stone.Beginnings of tool-making to beginnings of farming. Hunting, gathering, and fishing the universal way of life.
Late Paleolithic = 200,000 - 10,000 years agoAdvances toward greater cultural complexity, which began to appear when Homo sapiens still lived only in Africa.More and better tools, symbolic thought and expression.Hunting, gathering, and fishing continue but settlements become bigger in some places.Neolithic Age = 10,000 - 4,000 years agoNeo = New, Lithic = Stone.More complex stone tools.Early era of farming to beginnings of city-based societies.Humans in many parts of the world continue to gather and hunt.Terms and Time Periods
Why Do We Care about Early Human History?Recent discoveries near the villageof Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia(Caucasus Mts.) suggest that early human ancestors migrated from Africa to Eurasia much earlier thanscholars previously thought. This might mean that the first hominids to leave Africa had smaller brains and much simpler stone tool kits than we have assumed.
Why Do We Care about Early Human History?We want to know what it means to be human rather than to be some other kind of life form. What makes us different from chimps?We want to know what connects us and the world we live in to the past, including the very, very remote past.We want to know how the world got to be the way it is because the way it used to be was so different.Early history is part of the human experience. We want to be able to talk about it with others without sounding like ignoramuses.The way national and ethnic groups view their distant past is an important aspect of their identity.The question of whether nature or nurture makes us the way we are always fascinates us.The past was not only weirder than we realize,it was weirder than we can imagine. David Lowenthal
Early Human HistoryWhats the Evidence?BonesPhysical traces of human beingsEvidence of anatomical evolutionEvidence of movement in space
StonesPhysical traces of tools or weaponsEvidence of changing technologyEvidence of movement in space
Grave goodsPhysical traces of human-made objectsEvidence of changing technology andlife ways, i.e. culture
ClimatologyPhysical traces of changing climateEvidence of interrelationship between environment and human history
DNAPhysical evidence of genetic change in thetissue of people, living or dead.Evidence of movement in time and spaceEvidence of adaptation to differing environments
As DNA flows from one generation to the next, small alterations, or mutations occur, and at a regular rate. This means that over time the genetic distance between individuals sharing a common ancestor steadily increases. The longer two human populations have no contact with one another, the greater the genetic distance between them will be.
Family Tree of Human Evolution(part of the modern creation myth)This family tree shows the variety of hominid species that have populated the planet--some known only by a fragment of skull or jaw. As the tree suggests, the emergence of Homo sapiens has not been a single, linear transformation of one species into another but rather a meandering, multifaceted evolution.Ian TattersallHomo sapiensHomo NeanderthalensisHomo HeidelbergensisHomo ErectusHomo ErgasterHomo Habilis Australopithecus afarensis
Unlike most animals, humankind is a cosmopolitan species. That is, it has adapted to almost all the earths regions and climates. Why are humans everywhere, andhow did they get there?
Homo erectus bands were notquite like us, but they were great travelers (if not the first).Homo erectusAppeared 2 mya (?)OmnivorousComplex brain compared to preceding speciesMade stone toolsControlled fireAdapted to cool climatesSpread from Africa to EurasiaDid not go to Australia, Oceania, the Americas, or eventhe northern, colder parts ofAfroeurasiaDid Homo sapiens meet Homo erectus?(Maybe)
Where did people like us start from?Most scholars believe that Homo sapiens evolved in Africa, then migrated to other parts of the world. As modern humans spread around the world, they completely replaced all other hominid species, including Homo erectus and our very close cousins the Neanderthals.Homo ErectusHomo ErectusHomo sapiens
Remains discovered at Blombos Cave in South Africa are one example of the more complex culture some humans were developing as many as 90,000 years ago.
The people who lived in this seaside camp
made sharp stone spear points using methods that appeared in Eurasia only 50,000 or more years later.
made objects from bone, the earliest use of this material known.
scored bits of bone and ochre with marks that may have had symbolic meaning.
Photos: Arizona State University, College of Liberal Arts and Scienceshttp://clasdean.la.asu.edu/news/images/bone/View looking out of Blombos Cave to the Indian OceanBone points from the caveOchre piece with scrapemarks. A person may havescraped the ochre to get powder to use to makebody paint.
Map 1Migrations of Homo sapiensPossible coastal routes of human migrationPossible landward routes of human migrationHuman Origins200,000-250,000 years agoSouthwest Asia100,000 years agoAustraliaas many as 60,000years agoEurope40,000 years agoSiberia40,000 years agoNorth America12,000-30,000years agoMigrations in OceaniaOceania1600 B.C.E.-500 C.E.Chile12,000-13 ,000years ago
Why are Human Beings Everywhere?By perhaps 200,000 years ago, human beings possessed the intelligence, capacity for shared learning, and technical skills to adapt to just about any climate on earth. But why did they populate all the major land masses and most islands of the globe?
Why Did People End Up Everywhere?Humans did not decide to populate the world.Neither did humans drift aimlessly from continent to continent.Migrating peoples did not have long-distance objectives. But they did have short distance ones to survive and perpetuate the group. Sometimes that meant moving.When population rose in an area, some were forced to move on.Climatic fluctuations and crises could also be engines stimulating migration.
Facts about Kennewick ManSkeletal remains discovered on a bank of the Columbia River in Washington State in 1996.Radio carbon dating showed the skeleton to be about 9,000 years old.Skull appears to have features unlike other ancient skulls of Native American ancestors.DNA study has been inconclusive in determining genetic connection between the skeleton and human groups. The origins of Kennewick Man are unknown.Umatilla Indian group claimed the skeleton for immediate ritual burial. The skeleton was found on federal land, not on a reservation. Even so, the law requires that remains of Native Americans found on federal land be returned to affiliated tribes for reburial. This law, enacted in 1990, is called the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).Scientists have sued to be permitted to undertake long-term study of the remains.Popular media at first reported Kennewick Man as a European whose genetic relatives had come to North America more than 9,000 years ago. The notion that this man came from Europe has been discredited.A court has recently found in favor of the scientists, but Indian groups will appeal that decision.
Kennewick Man fishing Artist: Joyce BergenTom McClelland shows skull casting used to recreate facial features of Kennewick Man.Ariel view of site on Columbia River whereKennewick Man was discovered.
Sept. 27, 2002Tribes try to appeal ruling on Kennewick Man bones
By Mike Lee Herald staff writer
Four Northwest tribes are attempting to appeal a federal court ruling that allows study of Kennewick Man's 9,000-year-old remains.Tribal lawyers Thursday said that the U.S. government no longer adequately represents Indian interests and asked for the right to appeal the high-profile decision, which addresses pivotal aspects of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. . . .
Copyright 2002 Tri-City Herald
Should the Remains of Kennewick Man Be:
1) safeguarded indefinitely for scientific study?
2) studied during a reasonable time period, then returned to Indians in Washington State for burial?
3) returned immediately to Indians in for reburial?
The problem with raceGenetic differences among humans around the world are slight. The genetic differences among three subspecies of chimpanzees are ten times greater than the differences among any human groups.Genetic differences between any two individuals are always greater than the differences between so-called races.Visible differences among groups (eye folds, skin color, nose width, body type) are adaptations to environment that have occurred within the past 200,000 years or less.Perceived physical differences vary independently of one another. They dont go together in packages.Boundaries between races are impossible to locate.Differences in intelligence exist between individuals. They do not exist between perceived races. There is no evidence to support this assertion.Race, therefore, is a social construction. Races exist to serve presumed cultural, political, or social needs and desires.
NEW YORK TIMESJuly 12, 2001An Ethiopian fossil hunter has foundthe bones and teeth of forest-dwellingindividuals who lived as much as 5.8million years ago, a discovery that appears to challenge some assumptionsof early human evolution and extendknowledge of the family tree back closeto its